U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall Recommends Supreme Court to Reject New Jersey’s Sports Betting Appeal
Acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall is rumored to be advising the US Supreme Court to deny New Jersey’s sports betting appeal. Jeffrey Wall is an appointee who will serve in his position until Donald Trump’s nominee, Noel Francisco, is confirmed by the US Congress.
Michelle Minton, a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, posted on Twitter, “Hearing chatter that Solicitor General’s office is ‘unlikely’ to recommend SCOTUS grant NJ’s PASPA appeal. Here’s hoping it’s wrong.”
New Jersey’s Sports Betting Appeal
If the State of New Jersey‘s sports betting appeal is rejected by the Supreme Court, it would be the end of the state’s 5-year attempt to establish legal, licensed, and regulated sportsbooks in the state. In 2012, New Jersey held a statewide referendum to legalize sportsbooks in the state. The people of the state voted to approve sports betting.
Before Gov. Chris Christie’s administration could impliment the new law, a group of American sports associations brought a lawsuit against the state. The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA argued that New Jersey’s attempt to establish legal sportsbooks was in violation of a federal ban enacted in 1992 by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which went into effect in 1993. The sports leagues argued they would be damaged by New Jersey’s sportsbooks, because it would undermine public confidence in the integrity of sporting events.
Throughout 2013 and 2014, the case made its way through District and Appellate courts, with the sports leagues winning decisions against New Jersey. When the state appealed the case to the Supreme Court in June 2014, the US Solicitor General recommended the Supreme Court reject the appeal — which is what happened.
Gov. Christie’s 2nd Sports Betting Law
Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey legislature repealed the original 2012 sports betting law and planned to look the other way while Monmouth Park and William Hill operated a sportsbook. In October 2014, the sports associations filed another lawsuit.
That is the case now being appealed before the Supreme Court. Like the previous case, New Jersey has lost at the District Court and Appellate Court levels of the US federal justice system. The latest defeat was in an uncommon ‘en banc’ appeal in Philadelphia, where a panel of judges voted 10-2 against New Jersey. If the Supreme Court ruled against the case, it woud be the end of the trail.
Michelle Minton on PASPA
Despite five seperate losses in court, many who monitor gambling laws and federal authority claim the PASPA law is unconstitutional. Michelle Minton says the bill is not fair, by any means.
Minton recently said, “Not only does the federal ban do nothing to protect consumers, but it prevents states from enacting their own protections. It is clear now that the sports gambling prohibition is not only useless, but counterproductive.”
Influence of the US Solicitor General
The U.S. Soliticor General serves as the federal government’s lawyer before the Supreme Court. The position is sometimes referred to as the 10th justice, because the 9 justice on the Supreme Court highly value the Solicitor General’s opinion on legal matters.
Future Supreme Court justices like Thurgood Marshall, William Howard Taft, and Elena Kagen have been Solicitor General. So have future US Attorney Generals like Francis Biddle, William D. Mitchell, and Robert H. Jackson (who also served on the Supreme Court). Notables historical figures like Archibald Cox, Robert Bork (also “Acting Attorney General”), and Ken Starr served as Solicitor General. Thus, the prestige and influence of the position is great. ‘
What Is Noel Francisco Opinion?
It is unknown how much an “Acting” US Solicitor General’s voice has with the Supreme Court. It is also unknown what the position of Noel Francisco’s stance on the sports betting issue will be.
One concern that Washington allies of sports betting have is Noel Francisco is working at the Solicitor General’s Office already. Given his future position heading the office, logic suggests that Jeffrey Wall and Noel Francisco are coordinating on policy.